September 1, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
87°F
test

Hundreds of dogs will be saved

ELYRIA — A new program could save the lives of as many as 300 dogs a year in Lorain County.

The program, which began last week, saves canines from the county dog kennel just before they are to be euthanized, which can happen five days after they are picked up by a dog warden.

After being saved, dogs are spayed or neutered and vaccinated before being transported to the Friendship Animal Protection League for adoption.

The program is expected to save 250 to 300 dogs a year, according to Tom Wood of the Lorain Animal Clinic — nearly half of the 600 dogs that are euthanized each year.

“We want to reduce the number of euthanizations, increase the number of adopted animals and reduce overpopulation,” Wood said. “This actually accomplishes all of that.”

Wood, through the discounted pet services organization Mr. Kitty Inc. that he founded, will head up the program and visit the kennel twice a week to look for dogs he believes can be adopted. Pit bulls, aggressive dogs and elderly dogs will not be chosen, he said.

Dogs will be tested for temperament before being taken to local veterinarians who have agreed to participate in the program. After that, a representative from the Friendship APL will pick them up.

About $24,000 from the county kennel medical fund is expected to be used for the program each year. Money in that fund, which was created by the commissioners a few years ago to supplement the kennel, comes from voluntary donations people make when they renew their dog licenses. At a recent meeting, the commissioners passed a resolution to create the program and allow Wood to use those funds.

Some of the money also will go to treat animals that have injuries when they’re picked up by the dog warden, Wood said. When the money is used up, the program will be halted until the next year.

But Wood said he expects the program to run a full 12 months because he will only be taking dogs he thinks will be quickly adopted and will have to depend on there being available space at the APL.

“If we wanted, we could spend $300,000 to $400,000 and still not address the whole problem,” Wood said. “This will still allow us to make a significant impact.”

Denise Willis, humane officer and supervisor for the APL, said she doesn’t expect the additional number of dogs to put too great of a strain on the facility’s resources.

“We have empty cages here right now, and we get lots of adoptions,” she said. “This is a wonderful thing.”

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.